In our ever-more-hybrid world, translation and polylinguality are now ubiquitous. Languages live side by side and commingle; new words, accents, grammars, forms of data, are surging everywhere. A writer may switch between languages within a piece of work, or may, like Ngugi wa’ Thiongo, deliberately refuse to avail herself of a major language for the benefit of a minor one. We’ll hear from those who live and create on a linguistic fault line.
Róbert GÁL (poetry, fiction; Czech Republic), a literary editor and publisher, works at intersections of genres and media. His six volumes of philosophical prose have been translated from his native Slovak into English and Czech; he has collaborated with composers, dancers, filmmakers, and visual artists in performance and installation work in Europe and the U.S. His participation was made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Samuel MENGHESTEAB (fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry; Eritrea) is the author of the Tigrigna story anthology Seb ziseanet seb, and a regular contributor to Tigrigna-language magazines. He teaches adult and youth theater and literary programs, and writers pop sing lyrics. His participation is courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of State.
Amira-Géhanne KHALFALLAH (fiction, nonfiction, drama; Algeria) is a journalist, novelist, filmmaker, and playwright. Her plays Les draps [Sheets] and Shams et les poissons du désert [Shams and the Desert Fish] have been published; her debut novel Le naufrage de la lune [The Wreck of the Moon] appeared in 2018; her short film Essebat [The Shoe] screened at several international festivals; a feature film is in development. She participates through a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
CHAN Lai-kuen (poetry, essays; Hong Kong), whose blog handle is “Dead Cat,” is a poet, a public speaker, and teacher. Her three books include [There Were Cats Singing], the winner of the Recommendation Prize at the 11th Hong Kong Biennial Awards for Chinese Literature, a prose collection, and a bilingual Chinese-English volume of poetry. Chan’s work has been translated and published internationally. She participates courtesy of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.